I’d like to share a modern parable about unexpected consequences. My story concerns the humble text message, which is the most widely used mobile data service today. Portio Research estimates 7.8 trillion SMS trillion messages were sent in 2011 with traffic expected to reach 9.6 trillion in 2012 (“Mobile Messaging Futures 2012-2016” – Feb 2012). They also estimate that $128b global revenue is created by SMS messaging. That’s big bucks, but the growth of text messaging in the late 1990s and 2000s largely took the industry by surprise. According to a post on eHow, it stands as a good example of how consumers can shape technology as a new demographic –teenagers – adopted and adapted the technology as its own.
When DCIM first started to be described as a software category, it was held to be the communications tool that was going to “bridge the gap” between IT and facilities: an engineering tool to bring new levels of understanding between those that consume data center capacities and those that control and manage its provision. Using a visual language it was also going to link the plant room to the board room, so that the people who run the business could have a real-time snap shot of how well the organization was managing its resources, especially the energy for which it pays so dearly. I think that DCIM is making ground in both of these respects, and delivering the goods. But recently, out of left field, a new group of users has started to emerge.
For the sales teams working in collocation businesses, DCIM takes stock availability to whole new level and offers the capability to service customers and potential customers in a much better way than ever before. And these sales teams really get this. Because DCIM can be used like any configurator, it’s technology which is familiar. So they’re not overwhelmed by the technicalities of the applications, or any lack of specialized engineering knowledge.
With no fear, the software can be used effectively to track how much capacity is available for rental to customers at any time. It also gives the flexibility to meet the customer’s requirements to be charged per kW/ hour or whatever measure they desire. It means that while the sales team manages its pipeline, the business is better able to exploit its principal asset – capacity. Meaning more profitability (and better bonuses) for the colocation company, as well as better visibility and more security of supply for the customer. Every one’s a winner.
I’m pretty sure that as our DCIM business develops, demand from colo sales desks will become an important driver. After all, many colocation companies have already adopted the software for its engineering capabilities. At Data Centres Europe 2012 in Nice earlier this year, Fabrice Coquio, President of Interxion France told the blog “Ten years ago, operating a data center was kind of learning by doing. But it’s an expert job today. So we need to have the right tools… it’s simply not an option not to have a DCIM solution in place.”
Oh, and by the way, if you wondered about the “Merry Christmas” in the headline, it was the first ever text message, sent by Neil Papworth of Airwide Solutions to Vodafone’s Richard Jarvis December 1992.